Kansas City Chiefs 2021 NFL Draft Recapby Ethan Hewette May 5, 2021 0 comments
Heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs only had a few spots to fill after bolstering their offensive line through free agency and trades. The most significant needs were edge rusher, linebacker, and wide receiver depth. However, the Chiefs continued to add depth in the trenches and addressed their big three needs. After trading away their first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for tackle Orlando Brown Jr, the Chiefs waited until day two to make their first selections. Kansas City also made a trade with the New York Jets on day three, receiving picks 162 and 226 in exchange for picks 175 and 207 of this year’s draft.
Make sure to check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft Team Recaps.
Best Pick: Creed Humphrey (Round 2, Pick 63)
The former Oklahoma Sooner center did not allow a single sack in his 37 college starts. Some analysts had him as a day-one talent. In fact, before the Chiefs overhauled their line in free agency, many even had Humphrey as a potential selection for the Chiefs at pick 31. Seeing a perfect 10 on his relative athletic score paired with his solid play at Oklahoma, the Chiefs couldn’t pass up on the two-time Big 12 offensive lineman of the year. Humphrey will instantly compete with Austin Blythe, who the Chiefs signed to a cheap veteran deal, for the starting center role. Plus, pairing him with Patrick Mahomes for years to come also makes this pick all the more sweet.
For more on Humphrey, check out our scouting report on him here.
Worst Pick: Noah Gray (Round 5, Pick 162)
Most of the picks for Kansas City this year were solid pickups or better. The move to trade up and select Gray in the fifth likely had mixed reviews from onlookers, and he probably would have still been on the board at 175. However, Veach did target a positional need. Behind Travis Kelce, the Chiefs have struggled to find a consistent piece, but adding Gray is still a bit of a gamble here. The former Duke Blue Devil doesn’t have the size and strength right now to be an in-line tight end and lacks the dynamic play-making abilities to make an impact over the middle. Combine these issues with the trade-up, and you have a mediocre day-three pick, who, if he develops behind Kelce, could turn into a solid backup tight end.
Sleeper Pick: Trey Smith (Round 6, Pick 226)
Talk about an absolute steal. The Chiefs picked up a stud offensive guard in the sixth round who just as likely could have gone early day two if it wasn’t for health concerns. The only thing keeping this pick from being an A or A+ is the fact that Smith has dealt with blood clots. While this is a serious concern, the former Tennessee Vol is a mauler on the offensive line and brings a lot of attitude and toughness to Kansas City’s interior offensive line. While he may not be starting year one, Smith will provide great depth behind Laurent Duvernay-Tardif until the latter decides to call it a career. Smith was the cherry on top of the Chiefs offensive line rebuild.
For more on Smith, check out our scouting report on him here.
Overall, the Chiefs had a solid draft. Nick Bolton in the second round might be a slightly polarizing selection. Still, he is a physical, run-stuffer which the Chiefs need desperately. The offensive line revamp continued with Humphrey and Smith. Still, another potential sleeper pick is wideout Cornell Powell in the fifth round. However, while they didn’t grab a top edge rusher, they still picked up Joshua Kaindoh out of Florida State in the fourth round. Of their rookie class, Humphrey and Bolton may be the only day-one contributors, but expect Powell, Kaindoh, and Gray all to serve as specific situational role players as well as big-time contributors on special teams.
Overall Grade: B+